Boozy Pelargonium scented strawberry confiture

Its hard to believe I know, and our our guests are always surprised too,to find that strawberries are at their peak here in the Algarve in March.They are now coming to an end and I am happy that I had put my preserving pan to good use while they were in season.But jam or confiture? that was the question.
In a classic jam, the fruit is diced small and partially mashed before cooking, and the suspending syrup is thick and opaque. Confitures and preserves are kissing cousins: whole or elegantly sliced fruit suspended in syrup is a confiture, which comes from the French verb confire, meaning “to preserve.” In confitures, the fruit is shown to great advantage, glistening in a clear gel; the texture tends to be looser than that of jam.So here it is, an oh so easy confiture recipe just in time for picnics,Wimbledon and the Holidays! ...You never know when a bit of boozy strawbery confiture could come in handy.More on that story later,Kirsty.
Boozy Pelargonium scented strawberry confiture 
Makes 2 x 450g jars
Adding scented pelargonium (geranium) leaves to the jam, as the Greeks often do, enhances the flavour. If you can't find them, adding black pepper is a delicious alternative – it cuts the sweetness of the jam.
  • 900g fresh strawberries, hulled
  • 4 scented pelargonium leaves, or a good grinding of black pepper
  • 250ml Vodka
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 900g granulated sugar, warmed in the oven
Place a saucer in the fridge, ready for when you come to test for setting point later on.
Put the strawberries and pelargonium leaves (or pepper) into a large glass bowl starting and finishing with a layer of sugar, heavy-based, stainless steel pan and use a potato-masher to squash the fruit slightly. Don't push too hard - you just want some of the fruit to release a little juice, not to be completely flattened.Pour over the vodka,cover with a clean cloth and leave to stand overnight.
The next day,drain the fruit sugar and liquid into a preserving pan.Add the lemon juice and bring to the boil and boil rapidly for a few minutes or until it reaches 116ºC (240ªF) on a sugar thermometer.Add the strawberries and lemon juice.Bring the boil and boil for 18-20 minutes or until setting point is reached 104-105°C. Remove the leaves.
Pull the pan off the heat and test for setting point. Take the saucer from the fridge and place a teaspoonful of the jam on it. When cool, it should wrinkle when you push it with your finger.
Cool slightly and pour into dry, warm, sterilised jars (you can sterilise them in a very hot dishwasher, or boil them in a pan of water for 10 minutes). Cover with a wax disc, then seal and label with the date. This jam will last for several years. Once opened, store in the fridge.
Don't make strawberry jam in huge batches; it's harder to get it to set, and with endless boiling you lose the freshness of the flavour.


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